Don’t Assume I’m Angry | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Don’t Assume I’m Angry


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Funmi F. Franklin

I am so sick of hearing about the "mad black woman," whether it's directed at the first lady or someone right here in Jackson.

My parents introduced me to the idea that I'd be tagged with this foolishness when I was a very young child. The reason it's so foolish is that every woman gets angry, right? Regardless of their racial background, is anger saved special to the black woman? And, for that matter, don't all men get angry, too, and children even?

Of course, everyone gets angry. But what people mean with this focus on the black woman is that we supposedly take anger to a place that other categories of people don't. The place that is so disturbing that other non-black, non-female people get to label it and give it a persona all its own. When a black woman gets angry, we supposedly lose ourselves. We lose our touch with reality and rationalism. We simply turn into these alien-like forces that cannot be controlled. Our anger comes from the strangest places, and it's never warranted, right? PLEASE.

This idea has become so much a part of American culture that most modern mothers of African descent who have the luxury of having a good bit of sense spend most of our time fighting against this stereotypic idea. We try to hide our anger, so much so that we end up not being passionate about things. We try to pacify people who piss us off—so much so that we tolerate things that should not be accepted, from our bosses to our mates. We tend to ignore, overlook, accept and even at times encourage things that we know should be dealt with simply to avoid that moment when we get the "Oh sh*t, she's turning into the Mad Black Woman." We then get a look as if, at any moment, our eyes will turn neon green, our shirts will split down the middle, and muscles will begin to pop up all over our newly hulking bodies. 
 It's stupid.

Here's the thing, though. The mad black woman, or MBW, festers because she has tried as long as she could to not appear angry that by the time she does indeed unleash her anger (which everyone else is free to display), you are lucky if she doesn't punch out some teeth or have steam coming from her ears. But, who wouldn't be that way if they had to spend the majority of their lives trying to act like the emotion of being angry, disappointed, hurt, upset, simply doesn't exist? Tell me ... who?

This brings me to this outrageous fiasco of Michelle Obama being a MBW because her husband, who is the leader of the free world, took a picture with a woman at a Mandela memorial event. Ugh! That is the most insulting thing I've ever witnessed without being directly affected. This nation cannot even bring itself to give the first lady of the United States enough credit to believe that she would not be angry that her husband is taking a picture next to her. Why was she supposedly angry? Because a photographer caught her not smiling. So, not smiling (at an event for a world leader who had died at age 95) equals mad. Yes, if you are a black woman.

The first lady sees her husband hug and kiss thousands of women, but on that particular day, she was the MBW. Michelle Obama, a woman of great grace and dignity, picked a day that the entire world would be watching her and her husband to be mad about a photograph. Yes. That's fair.

The most disgusting part isn't that society feeds into this and then shoves it down our throats via the news outlets and social media. It's not that by insulting our FLOTUS, in turn, all professional, classy, proud, married women (and not just black) are being degraded. The worst part is the fact that black women, young women, think that Michelle Obama picked this day to let her MBW out, and that it's cute. It's almost as if they are giving this silent cheer saying, "Yes, we knew you had it in you."

Sisters, please. We are better than that. You have been programmed to believe that it's natural and totally acceptable to be foolish when it comes to your reactions to things. We do this to ourselves.

While some of us are trying hard to murder the MBW idealism, some of us are idealizing it. We will never get a break through that way. Mad and black together describe who people think I am. I am not cool with that. When I get angry, it's because I was born into an angry world because I'm black and I'm a woman. But I refuse to be told that I have to act a certain way because of it. It's an insult that has changed the very way that we view ourselves and our sisters.

Whose fault is that?

Funmi "Queen" Franklin is a word lover, poet and advocate for women and sisterhood. She struggles with an addiction to reality television.

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Turtleread 6 years, 6 months ago

What? Your still listening to anything Fox or conservative radio has to say about President Obama or his family? I stopped listening years ago. It saved me a lot of aggravation.


JLucas 6 years, 6 months ago

It's not just Faux News that picked up on this. It trended on Twitter (including black Twitter) for a couple of days, and several popular black radio shows and gossip sites like Bossip, MediaTakeOut, and Hiphopzilla ran with it. Which I think speaks to the writer's frustration at how we blacks tend to embrace and promote some of the most negative stereotypes about ourselves.


Turtleread 6 years, 6 months ago

JLucas, I think that's what I find so difficult about the 21st century media landscape is the repeating and spreading without checking of lies, half-lies, and speculation that emanates from mostly conservative sectors of the media and gets coverage. As for your last sentence, I think certain segments of our own people have tried to exploit these divisions to further their own interests. You have no further to look that the "no snitch policy," which empowers the criminals among us.


Scott1962 6 years, 5 months ago

It gets equally annoying having people find something that they can relate to in order to get angry and feel victimized over it. If you hide your feelings based on something that I doubt seriously anyone even gives a second thought to then I'd have to say you're a slave to society's opinions and that's not good. I hope this was a "tongue in cheek" article and not something that you have literally taken time out of your day to be angry about. The pictures of Michelle Obama when her husband was doing what he was doing were pictures of an angry wife. They could have easily been pictures taken at the right time of a woman who didn't really care what was going on next to her. The point is she is the first lady and her husband was making a fool of himself, it was news. How many times did we see Hillary angry in public with Bill? And when you did, did you immediately think what a pissed off white woman she was? I'm sorry but the president and his wife are fair game so the racial implications we read so much about in writings such as this one are ridiculous at best. It happened to Michelle not you so why make it about you? Maybe you should care a little less about what other people think and you wouldn't have to feel so angry

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